Former President George W. Bush on Wednesday paid tribute to former secretary of state and presidential adviser Henry Kissinger, sharing an oil painting of the “dependable” American diplomat.
“America has lost one of the most dependable and distinctive voices on foreign affairs with the passing of Henry Kissinger,” Bush wrote in a statement. “I have long admired the man who fled the Nazis as a young boy from a Jewish family, then fought them in the United States Army.”
“I am grateful for that service and advice, but I am most grateful for his friendship,” Bush continued. “Laura and I will miss his wisdom, his charm, and his humor. And we will always be thankful for the contributions of Henry Kissinger.”
Included in his message was a photo of his oil painting of Kissinger that was featured in Bush’s book, “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants.”
Kissinger died on Wednesday at his home in Connecticut, his consulting firm announced. He was 100.
Kissinger entered the national political arena in 1969, when he began serving as former President Nixon’s national security adviser. While still in this role, Nixon appointed Kissinger to serve as the 56th secretary of state, making him the first person ever to serve as both the secretary of state and a national security adviser simultaneously.
His work included negotiations in the Vietnam War — which he later received a Nobel Peace Prize for — and the October War of 1973, along with improving relations between the U.S. and China. Upon stepping down as secretary in 1977, Kissinger was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.
After leaving the White House and State Department, he remained within the foreign policy sector, advising the nation’s leaders, including Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush. In 1982, he was appointed by former President Reagan in 1982 to chair the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America, and later served on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under Reagan and former President George H.W. Bush.
Kissinger is survived by his two children from his first marriage, Elizabeth and David, and his wife, Nancy Maginnes Kissinger.